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Nazaha Project Analyses Transparency in Palestinian Authority

The improvement of transparency and the strengthening of "Good Governance" – these are the objectives of the Nazaha Project, which is jointly implemented by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and its Palestinian partner AMAN (Coalition for Accountability and Integrity). Within the framework of this project, four reports have been published. They point out some critical problems within the Palestinian Authority regarding transparency and accountability and give suggestions for improvements.

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The first report, "Privileges for PA Employees", informs the reader about the allocation of resources of the PA for their employees. The report states some cases of clear misuse of those resources. Privileges and public possessions are often given to employees because of their high status within the public authority and not because of their actual needs at work. Such extras include the distribution of government cars, mobile phones and equipment. However, the actual problem is that there is no auditing system or regulation imposed upon the allocation of PA-resources. Thus, the lack of monitoring promotes self-serving misuse of such resources. Therefore, the report recommends the enactment of a law specifying usage, purchase and distribution of PA-resources. Such a law could, for instance, limit the private use of business mobile phones or prevent the misuse of fuel coupons.

The second report addresses the Palestinian Water Authority and its practices, mechanisms and relations to the PA. The Water Authority is subject to the auditing of many bodies within the PA. However, the main problem with auditing the Water Authority is not the lack of procedures but that procedures are not necessarily being followed. In this case the report recommends a separation between the political and executive aspects of the Water Authority and the enactment of laws concerning the work of the Water Authority. Furthermore, the Water Authority should implement a unified pricing system and hand out protocols of its regular meetings to the president of the PA and the Legislative Council in order to increase transparency. Additionally, the report suggests that the authority over negotiations with Israel about water should lie with the president of the PA.

The third report deals with grants and external assistance given to the Palestinian local governments and municipalities and points at the problems in this area. The existence of multiple channels for the distribution of external funds is weakening the auditing mechanisms applied by the PA. As a consequence, the report recommends the preparation of a legal framework that would regulate grants and donations given to the PA, and would exert efficient control over the national government. According to the report, donors need to follow the Palestinian rules and regulations and not deal directly with the local institutions when it comes to financial aid. In order to avoid institutional conflicts, the Development and Loan Foundation needs to be accepted as the only body responsible for external aid. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung contributes to the advancement of "good governance" in cooperation with the Institute for Community Partnership (ICP) in Bethlehem already for several years by conducting training courses for local decision-makers.

The fourth and last report illuminates the tender procedures applied in the governmental sector. Due to the fact that the allocation of governmental grants is regulated by two main laws, legal conflicts concerning this matter remain inevitable. Thus, the report's recommendations include the unification of these two laws into one in order to overcome all contradictions and to make unclear sections more specific.

The standardization of (partially) conflicting laws is being promoted by the Institute of Law (IOL), a partner of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, within the framework of the Legislative Support Unit.

Furthermore, the report recommends that privileges should be planned beforehand and be included in the annual budget. Purchases should be divided among more than one company if possible. Last but not least, deadlines should be respected and an efficient auditing system should be activated and carried out.

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